Change of scenery.
Having visited the upper reaches of the Dove once before, I decided a return was on the cards. My previous visit was very late in the season and the weather was poor. A couple of very wild brown Trout slipped up but were of not much size.
With a couple of errands to run before hand, I knew I wasn’t going to have much time on the river. But anything is better than nothing!. On route to Hartington I picked up my newly made LTD net from Damian Robinson. Big thank you to him for coming up trumps with the net, top man.
I’ve started taking note of Barometric pressure and altitude when arriving at the beat to see if there is any significance or patterns with these and how the fish behave. Obviously Barometric pressure changes with altitude so there’s a lot of variables to consider but who knows I’ll see how it goes. With coarse fishing especially the carp, pressure below 1000 was always a good sign.
On arrival these were the readings;
Barometric pressure – 986
Altitude – 231 Metres above sea level
Arriving at the beat I quickly remembered how tight and overgrown the fishing is this far up. I knew there would be some tangles and tree trout throughout the session so braced my self whilst sneakily edging along its banks. Before long I spotted a beautifully coloured brown Trout lay in a narrow channel between some reeds. As soon as my brain processed I’d seen a fish and that it was big, the Trout’s brain had already registered danger and darted.
Moving on I quickly began realising my mistakes, It was easy to spot the fish from the bank but was almost impossible to avoid spooking them. I decided getting down to water level and working my way up-stream would be the best option. Armed with a lightweight rod suited for dry-fly fishing I looked for fish who appeared to be interested in feeding on the surface.
The Dove up here is very different make up to further downstream. the colour is more like a tea colour and the flow is much slower. Majority of fish I came across where sitting tight against the banks in the entrance or exit of the small dark pools scattered up its length. The first few fish I attempted to fish too quickly became failed attempts either by hooking the over grown foliage behind me or getting to close to the fish.
At this point my efforts were being laughed at by the fish and my brain was working over time to think of a new plan. As I crouched and worked my way round a large tree hanging into the water, I caught a glimpse of a beautiful Brown trout. At first I thought I’d got to close and that it’d most certainly seen me. I dropped back a few yards and peered through the hanging foliage watching its every move. Both knees were going numb from the awkward position in which I sat with the rocky bottom not helping things. My heart began racing as I realised it was a good sized fish, It gracefully turned and flicked it’s tail and sipped something from the surface. The only way to present a fly to this was with a very awkward bow and arrow cast. Edging into position the fish disappeared into the depths of the pool beneath the trees. Sheer disappointment is how I’d best describe my feelings. Still crouched I moved forwards a bit and something caught my eye.
What at first I thought was a Stick, turned out to be a brown Trout sat in the tail of a riffle which was a foot deep at the most. Once again my heart started racing, slowly lowering my self onto my hands and knees I decided I’d change fly to an IOBO Humpy. I kept one eye on the fish to make sure it didn’t spook or move position. The fish appeared to be in feeding mode and I knew the riffle would increase my chances of the fish making a mistake.
Crawling forward and slightly to the right of the fish I kept a very low profile and kept all movements extremely slow and minimal. With around 8-10 feet between myself and the fish I pulled the fly back and loaded the rod, Heart now racing even more I let go. Useless, first attempt the fly landed to the right of the fish on the edge of the riffle and the fish paid no attention what so ever. Fly in hand again I loaded the rod more this time and pointed the rod slightly further to the left, Bulls eye. The fly landed in the riffle and to the left of the fish. My heart was in my throat as the fly bounced down the riffle and into the entrance of the pool. The fish turned and I had one of those slow motion moments where your asking your self is he going to take it about 50 times in approx half a second. The answer was yes with an extremely calculated sip off the surface approx 4-6 feet in front of me. Angry brown Trout on, rod caught in tree above Trout now in tree roots, rod free from tree everything was at warp speed. Panic mode now set in, I didn’t wanna lose this fish and he was trying to find sanctuary in some gnarly old tree roots. With a bit of persuasion with my rod and some fancy angles he kindly removed himself and swam out where my ambush lay in wait in the form of a well placed net.
Brown Trout fever.
There’s not very often that I’ll vocally express my excitement over a catch but this one I did, not before scanning my surroundings to make sure I was alone mind. With my time running out and my brain now frazzled from the excitement I decided one fish was certainly enough and made my way back to the car. Obviously I re checked all the spots I’d seen fish earlier as I couldn’t help myself as the brown Trout fever started to take a firmer hold.